"International terrorism has long been recognized as a foreign and domestic security threat. The tragic events of September 11 in New York, the Washington, D.C., area, and Pennsylvania have dramatically re-energized the nation's focus and resolve on terrorism. This issue brief examines international terrorist actions and threats and the U.S. policy response. Available policy options range from diplomacy, international cooperation, and constructive engagement to economic sanctions, covert action, physical security enhancement, and military force. The September 11th terrorist incidents in the United States, the subsequent anthrax attacks, as well as bombings of the U.S.S. Cole, Oklahoma City, World Trade Center in 1993, and of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, have brought the issue of terrorism to the forefront of American public interest. Questions relate to whether U.S. policy and organizational mechanisms are adequate to deal with both state-sponsored or -abetted terrorism and that undertaken by independent groups. Terrorist activities supported by sophisticated planning and logistics as well as possible access to unconventional weaponry raise a host of new issues. Some analysts' long-held belief that a comprehensive review of U.S. counterterrorism policy, organizational structure, and intelligence capabilities is needed has now become a mainstream view. U.S. policy toward international terrorism contains a significant military component, reflected in current U.S. operations in Afghanistan and (on a smaller scale) the Philippines and in planned deployments of U.S. forces to Yemen and the former Soviet republic of Georgia. President Bush has expressed a willingness to provide military aid to 'governments everywhere' in the fight against terrorism. Important issues for Congress include whether the Administration is providing sufficient information about the long-term goals and costs of its military strategy and whether military force is necessarily an effective anti-terrorism instrument in some circumstances."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB95112